Find out how we can lead you right through your journey to becoming an adopting parent.


  • You will receive a warm and speedy response to your initial enquiry.
  • You will have experienced social workers supporting and guiding you all the way through the process of adopting your child.
  • We will help you to find the right child for you, not just from the local area, but searching throughout the UK. The average age of children placed with our adopters over the past 5 years is 2 years 7 months. Your chances of adopting a baby are increased by participating in our Concurrent Care scheme.
  • You will receive the support you need to be the best adopter you can be for your child. This support is available to you throughout childhood and beyond, for as long as you need it. This reflects what we know about the lifetime nature of adoption for children and their families.
  • We offer the services of our legal advisor to help with the legal process of adoption, minimising the legal costs for you.
  • The average timescale for your home study is only 6 months.
We are currently working in partnership with West Lothian to provide Concurrent Care, to recruit carers for a small number of very young children who are at high risk of not being able to be cared for by their birth families.

Concurrent carers need to be prepared to have a baby or very young children placed with them initially on a fostering basis, while a concentrated effort is made to assess whether the child can be cared for by their birth parents. This involves a high level of contact with the birth family. Should the time limited assessment show that the child cannot be cared for by the birth family, the child will be adopted by their concurrent carers. This means that the child experiences very little disruption to their care in the early days of their life.

This may not suit most people who want to consider fostering but if you think you could ultimately make the commitment to adopt a child in your care if that is what is needed then we are happy to talk further to you about this option.

If this interests you, please mention this on your enquiry form and, when a social worker visits you, they can tell you more.

At present, potential concurrent carers should live within easy reach of West Lothian.  


We recruit:
  • Couples and single people aged 21 and over.
  • It is unlikely that applicants under 25 will have the necessary life experience and skills to parent children from neglectful and abusive backgrounds.
  • We do not have an upper age limit but it must be clearly demonstrated that the applicant has the space, energy and good health to meet the needs of children.
  • It is likely that older applicants will be considered primarily for older children.
We are looking for:
  • Adopters from all racial and cultural backgrounds.
We recruit:
  • Adopters from all religions.
  • Those who have no religious affiliation.
We recruit:
  • Couples and single people who are childless.
  • Couples and single people who have birth children.

We recruit:

  • Males and females who are married or living together in a committed and enduring relationship.
  • ‘Same sex couples who are married or living together in a committed and enduring relationship.
  • Single males and single females.

We expect couples to have been in a relationship for a minimum of 3 years.


  • Children under 5 years of age will only be placed in non-smoking households.
  • Some Local Authorities do not place children of any age in smoking households.
  • To be considered as non-smoker an applicant has to not have smoked for at least 12 months.


The adoption process has several stages spanning many months. We’ll be with you right along the way.
Contact us by phone, in writing or by e-mail to make an initial enquiry about adoption in Scotland. We’ll then send you some information about adopting through us as well as an Initial Enquiry Form. If you’re still interested in adopting, complete and return this form to us so that we can arrange for a social worker to visit you in your home.
The social worker will be able to tell you more about adoption in Scotland, the preparation and assessment process and the checks we will carry out to assess your suitability. You should be as honest as possible with us at this point so that we can be clear with you about what the challenges will be. You will also hear about the kinds of children who need adoptive homes and we will ask you about your motivation and expectations regarding adoption in Scotland.
If we feel that you have the potential to offer a child a safe and loving home, you will be invited to attend the next available preparation group course. Attending these groups will allow you to find out about adoption in Scotland in more detail, and do some very important thinking about making a lifetime commitment to a child. Our job is to give you a lot of information about adoption in Scotland, including the range of children available. You have a crucial role to play at this time. You are given a chance to take a very honest look at what you want out of adoption and what you can offer a child waiting for adoption (many of whom may be very demanding). You will have time to think about all the important issues:
  • What are the needs of an adopted child?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a prospective adoptive parent?
  • Can you make the sort of commitment that will really make a difference to a child’s life?
Once you have completed the preparation group programme you formally apply to be assessed as a prospective adopter. You will be allocated a social worker who will assess your suitability to adopt by building up a thorough profile of you. The social worker will make several visits to your home to see you together (if you are a couple) and individually and ask you detailed questions about your own family background, your childhood and your present circumstances. We will take up Disclosure Scotland and Local Authority checks and personal references. You will also have a full medical examination with your own GP. The home study is demanding, will address personal issues and will take several months to complete. Because we ask families to make a life long commitment to children, the agency must be sure you are right for the role. Just as importantly, you must be certain you can make a success of it.
The home study report goes forward to the Agency’s adoption panel. This panel is made up of social workers, other professionals and independent people. You will attend the panel along with your social worker to answer any questions from panel members. Once they have considered the report, the panel will recommend whether or not you should be approved as an adoptive parent. Remember, most people who reach this stage are approved. Based on the panel’s recommendation, the agency decision maker will then decide whether or not to approve you. Normally, you will be notified of the decision within a week of the panel.
Once you are approved, St. Andrew’s Children’s Society will begin to consider whether there are children waiting for adoption who might be a suitable match for you. St Andrew’s Children’s Society places children with adoptive families on behalf of Local Authorities throughout the United Kingdom. We place children who are referred directly to St Andrew’s by Local Authorities as well as children whose circumstances are featured in national publications available to prospective adoptive families.
Once a child or children have been identified as possibly suitable for you, you will be given full information about the child or children’s background. If you want to proceed and a Matching Panel agrees that it is a good match, you will meet the child or children, as part of a gradual programme of introductions. Your adoptive child or children will come to live with you and become part of your new family. Remember, you are not on your own – St. Andrew’s Children’s Society will offer you support and advice after placement, and will keep in touch with you until the adoption is finalised. You should talk to your social worker about what adoption support services will be offered by St Andrew’s.
When your adoptive child has successfully settled in your family, you will be able to apply to the Sheriff Court where you live for an adoption order to be made. You can lodge a petition to adopt a child once they have lived with you for a minimum of 13 weeks. Once the order is made, all rights and responsibilities originally held by the birth parents transfer to you.
Your social worker will visit you after the adoption order has been granted and will draw up an Adoption Support Agreement with you. This will outline what support you would like to receive from St Andrew’s and can be reviewed at any time in the future so that it continues to meet the needs of your family.


In this series of videos you can hear from Robert who has gone through the adoption process with St Andrew’s Children’s Society. Robert made this recording in 2014. He is now a fully qualified social worker in Glasgow and still very much a part of his adopted family.

Advice to prospective adopters

Robert, adopted at the age of 8, gives his initial thoughts about his experience.

Fitting in

Robert continues his conversation about how he fitted in with his new adoptive family, following his earlier experiences in foster care.

The Adoption Process

The positive experience of adoption when Robert was adopted and how his St Andrew’s Children’s Society social worker helped him throughout the process.


Robert talks honestly about his teenage and school years. His behaviour and coming to terms with being adopted. How his mum and dad helped to smooth the process through difficult times, with love and understanding.


Have you looked at the Assessment Criteria? If you seem suitable to become an adopter, then you can contact us in a number of ways:

  • Within 60 miles of Edinburgh call 0131 454 3370
  • Within 60 miles of Aberdeen call 01224 878158
  • Within 60 miles of Elgin call 01224 878158
  • Email our Duty Desk
  • Complete the Initial Enquiry Form

If you live further away, give either office a call and we can put you in touch with agencies nearer to you.
If you are unsure as to whether you meet our Assessment Criteria, contact us anyway to speak with one of our social workers.